Discussion in 'Atomic Bombs In the Pacific' started by Spartanroller, Apr 30, 2011.
What overtures were those, btw?
That is historically unsupportable. If you look at Surrender of Japan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
You will note that Hiroshima occured on 6th and Nagasaki on the 9th as you state but no indication that the Japanese would surrender following Hiroshima. However 1 day after Nagasaki they sent at telegram agreeing to Potsdam with reservations. Note that that is one day after Nagasaki and if we look at the direct quote:
The fact that it was early morning on the 10th and that news that the Nagasaki bomb went off reached Tokyo around 11AM on the 9th actually shows that they could react in less than a day. The fact that they still announced reservations and that a coup almost occured make it pretty clear that the second bomb was needed especially in light of the advice given the Japanese leadership that the US probably didn't have a second bomb.
That is too true "lwd", Heisenberg had assured Hitler that building a single bomb would be impossible for any nation during time of war, and so the idea there might be a second one was outside their ken, since they took most of their lead in the field from the Germans. Their inaction after Hiroshima (they didn't even send nuclear scientists to the site until after Nagasaki) shows they doubted it was anything out of the ordinary. Truman's "rain of ruin from the sky" speech then really sunk in.
And internal meeting minutes clearly state that the second bomb was deemed evidence that there could be any number of them ready to drop.
It's not surprising that most of the military leaders didn't like the bomb. If you put yourself in their position it should be easy to understand. You could make a sports analogy I s'pose. If you are in a tough game, struggling against a formidable foe, scratching and clawing for every yard, then at the end of the game, with victory in sight, the coach pulls the entire team replacing them with a whole team of ringers that steamroll over your opponent for the win in the final seconds.
This has been covered extensively in the other threads, but to put it simply, the Japanese had been looking for ways to end the war since '43, when realistically the war was lost. They had not been able to do so primarily because of the intransigence of the Japanese military. The so called "overtures" through the USSR weren't serious, they were confused and the US knew it-it was clear that there was no agreement among the Japanese leaders about ending the war.
Of course there had to be consideration of the post war world-it would have been extremely irresponsible not to consider the ramifications of this new weapon. But there is no real evidence to suggest that using the bomb on the Japanese was simply a ploy to saber rattle against the Soviets. That was a consideration for sure, but only a sideline. Had the Japanese accepted Potsdam, the war would have been over and no bombs would have been dropped. That was the window of opportunity that Truman offered the Japanese and they did not take it.
We sometimes forget that the Japanese were not victims here. Their actions since 1931 warranted the destruction of their state. Truman's obligation as Commander in Chief was to minimize US casualties. If he did not use the bomb, he would have been extremely derelict in those duties.
It's clear you are using Aperowitz as your source. You should stick to reading books by historians. Aperowitz is not an historian and his book proves it. He draws conclusions without analyzing all the evidence, he cherry-picks evidence, and clearly wrote the book with pre-concieved notions.
Somewhat astonishing that 66 years later old lies are still going strong. Store the flag, clean the disk and put your brains in "human being" mode.
Navigate and spend a few hours on Truman's diary, James Byrnes diary, Henry Stimson and other leading figures of the time.
Add Mr Hasegawa's (Univ of California, Santa Barbara) Racing the Enemy.
Just a few facts:
The Japanese were trying to surrender (plainly under the Emperor's instructions) since the spring of '44, mostly through Mr Sato, Ambassador in Moscow
The US had perfect knowledge of this correspondence
Two days before Truman was to leave for Potsdam, he received a 40 pages memo from Mc Arthur outlining all the surrender overtures received until then
The draft of Truman's speech in Potsdam (starting July 16...) contained one specific sentence pertaining to the (retaining of) dynasty
When the Potsdam Declaration was broadcasted (July 26), that sentence had disappeared
Weeks before, the planning of Blacklist (occupation of Japan) had been finalized and Mc Arthur and his HQ staff were readied.
Worthwhile to note that the very same Mc Arthur and staff were supposed to lead operation Olympic (which never reached operational planning status...and that a mere eleven weeks bedore D-day Nov 1st)
When did the Soviets break the non-aggression Pact and did the Soviet Army launch its offensive in the East ?
The plan called for Aug 15 but they started moving on August 9th !
1.5 million men, 80 divisions, 26000 field guns, 5500 tanks, 5400 planes; a push reaching 820km in ten days
Where were Japan's best troops (at all times) ? China and Manchuria, crushed by the Soviets
Another note: the US Navy had transferred plenty of LST, LCI, LCM etc to the Soviet Navy of the Pacific (a transfer that was stopped end of spring...) and Japan was supposed to be partitioned between Allies exactly like Germany had been. At the very least, Hokkaido would have been in Soviet hands.
The Japanese did not even know that H and N were products of nuclear bombs, their conclusion was either magnesium or liquid hydrogen
What is 50,000 casualties when the 60 biggest cities have been flattened and a conventional bombing eradicates twice as many lives ?
Were the bombs a major factor in Japan's surrender ? NO, the major factor was the Soviet staggering advance and crushing of Japan's best armies. Truman could have stopped the war several weeks before...without bombs.
Were the bombs a major factor in stopping the Soviets in their tracks and avoiding a Soviet invasion of (parts of) Japan ? YES
Were the bombs THE essential factor in the restoring of the strategic advantage of the USA on a world scale (which it had lost) ? YES
I didn´t read all you wrote but what I read, I recognized as utterly wrong: "The Japanese were trying to surrender"
For details I refer you to the renowned historian Richard B. Frank:
In case you want to learn more, try this.
This post is incorrect on many levels, not restricted to the "peace feelers" the Japanese were placing with the Soviet foreign office at the time. They had been ignored for the most part since May when the "non-Aggression" pact was declared invalid, it wan't "broken" it simply wasn't re-verified by the Soviets as per the pacts own stipulations.
Sato couldn't get an audience with anyone of import, and both Stalin and Molotov had left for the Potsdam meeting by July. Here are the transcribed telegrams posted between himself and Tokyo at the time, I am only posting the first from Sato back to Togo when he expressed the futility of the position taken in, and hoped for in Tokyo.
The Japanese Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Sato) to the
Japanese Minister of Foreign affairs (Togo)
Moscow, July 12 1945 --11:25 p.m.
1382. 1. Your Telegrams No. 890 and 891 were received on the 12th immediately after my reply No. 1381 was sent. I take it that the purpose of your telegram was to sound out the possibilities of utilizing the Soviet Union in connection with the termination of the war.
In the unreserved opinion of this envoy and on the basis of your telegram No. 885, I believe it no exaggeration to say that the possibility of getting the Soviet Union to join our side and go along with our reasoning is next to nothing. That would run directly counter to the foreign policy of this country as explained in my frequent telegrams to you. It goes without saying that the objectives cannot be successfully attained by sounding out the possibilities of using the Soviet Union to terminate the war on the above basis. This is clearly indicated in the progress of the conference as reported in my telegram No. 1379.
Moreover, the manner of your explanation in your telegram No. 891 --"We consider the maintenance of peace in Asia as one aspect of maintaining world peace"-- is nothing but academic theory. For England and American are planning to take the right of maintaining peace in East Asia away from Japan, and the actual situation is now such that the mainland of Japan itself is in peril. Japan is no longer in a position to be responsible for the maintenance of peace in all of East Asia, no matter how you look at it.
2. Although the Empire and its commanders have said, "We have no intention of annexing or taking possession of the areas which we have been occupying," what kind of reaction can we expect when in fact we have already lost or about to lose Burma, the Philippines, and even a portion of our mainland in the form of Okinawa?
As you already know, the thinking of the Soviet authorities is realistic. It is difficult to move them with abstractions, to say nothing about the futility of trying to get them to consent to persuasion with phrases beautiful but somewhat remote from the facts and empty in content. In fact, with reference to your proposal in telegram No. 853, Molotov does not show the least interest. And again, in his refusal he gave a very similar answer. If indeed our country is pressed by the necessity of terminating the war, we ourselves must first of all firmly to terminate the war. Without this resolution, an attempt to sound out the intentions of the Soviet Union will result in no benefit. In these days, with the enemy air raids accelerated and intensified, is there any meaning in showing that our country has reserve strength for a war of resistance, or in sacrificing the lives of hundreds of thousands of conscripts and millions of other innocent residents of cities and metropolitan areas?
3. Concerning these important matters, we here do not have appropriate or accurate information relative to our present armament production and therefore are not in a position to judge matters correctly. To say nothing about the fact that it was only by chance hearsay that we learned of the Imperial Conference which began in early June, at which it was resolved to take positive steps. And, if worse comes to worst and the progress of the war following the conference turns extremely disadvantageous for our side, it would behoove the Government in this situation to carry out that important resolution. Under these circumstances, the Soviet Government might be moved, and the desire to have it mediate will not be an impossibility. However, in the above situation, the immediate result facing us would be that there will be no room for doubt that it will very closely approximate unconditional surrender.
I have expressed my extremely unreserved opinion in the foregoing and I beg your pardon for such frank statements at this time. I have also heard that at the Imperial Court His Majesty is greatly concerned. I find these dreadful and heartbreaking thoughts unbearable. However, in international relations there is no mercy, and facing reality is unavoidable. I have transmitted the foregoing to you in all frankness, just as I see it, for I firmly believe it to be my primary responsibility to put an end to any loose thinking which gets away from reality. I beg for your understanding.
Nuclear Files: Library: Correspondence: Telegrams: Togo-Sato
To Stalin's credit he informed Truman of the Japanese "peace feelers", and Truman was impressed that Stalin did it voluntarily since the Japanese had never changed their diplomatic codes, Truman was reading the back and forth between Moscow and Tokyo in nearly "real time". Truman knew that Stalin had turned a "cold shoulder" to the Japanese, and while he didn't sign the Potsdam Declaration, Truman got Stalin to agree to attack to the east by mid-August. The explosion of the first atomic over Hiroshima made/forced Stalin to move his declaration of war and attack in the east up by nearly a fortnight. Stalin knew of the MED project through his spies, but he didn't understand how fast the first and then the second would be deployed after a successful test. The speed of their use was the only surprise to him.
Yes we did know Japan was trying to use the SU to mediate a surrender on terms beneficial to Japan. Stalin admitted as much. Japan was seeking something very close to the Treaty of Versailles, and we all know how that one turned out. Do you have a copy of any official proposals? I doubt it considering no attempts to surrender were made. If you want to continue to believe Japan should have negotiated an end to the war, I would urge you to consider the following information from Richard Frank's Downfall:
How many more inoccent people would have died in the weeks or months these negotiations ended in an agreement? Months of such negotiations did nothing to prevent the war.
Does this really surprise you? The United States was not the only nation engaged in a war with Japan. Changes to the document would be expected after the Potsdam conference.
Do you really believe that after eight years of constant warfare, the Kwantung Army was still the elite force of the IJA? Since the very beginning they had been stripped of their most experienced officers and men. The great Kwantung Army had already been defeated by the Australians along the Kokoda Trail, the US in the Pacific and Philippines, and the British in Burma. In August of 45 the "elite" Japanese army consisted of hundreds of thousands half trained raw-recruits on counter-insurgency duty.
The Japanese were willing ,not to surrender,but to cease the fighting,under certain conditions,and,of course,this was totally unacceptable for the Allies .
If the Japanese were willing to surrender,well,nobody was holding them back .
The allegation that Japan was willing to surrender is a post war invention,with as meaning to attack the bad US,who were killing needlessly thousands of Japanese civilians ,invention,spreaded ,as to be expected by the (IMHO) traitors of the Ivy League .
The Soviets didn't "break" it, they refused to reaffirm it inside of the five year window of it's predetermined lifetime/existence.
(The Department of State Bulletin, Vol. XII, No. 305, April 29, 1945)
The American Ambassador at Moscow transmitted to the Secretary of State, by a telegram dated April 5, 1945, the following statement, as received from the press section of the Foreign Office, regarding Soviet denunciation of the U.S.S.R.-Japanese neutrality pact:
" 'Today at 3 p.m. People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR Mr. V. M. Molotov, received the Japanese Ambassador, Mr. N. Sato, and made the following statement to him in the name of the Soviet Government:
" 'The neutrality pact between the Soviet Union and Japan was concluded on April 13, 1941, that is, before the attack of Germany on the USSR and before the outbreak of war between Japan on the one hand and England and the United States on the other. Since that time the situation has been basically altered. Germany has attacked the USSR, and Japan, ally of Germany, is aiding the latter in its war against the USSR. Furthermore Japan is waging a war with the USA and England, which are allies of the Soviet Union.
" 'In these circumstances the neutrality pact between Japan and the USSR has lost its sense, and the prolongation of that pact has become impossible.
" 'On the strength of the above and in accordance with Article Three of the above mentioned pact, which envisaged the right of denunciation one year before the lapse of the five year period of operation of the pact, the Soviet Government hereby makes known to the Government of Japan its wish to denounce the pact of April 13, 1941.' (bold mine)
" 'The Japanese Ambassador Mr. N. Sato, promised to inform the Japanese Government of the statement of the Soviet Government."
SOVIET-JAPANESE NEUTRALITY AND DENUNCIATION
Good luck on thinking the Soviets "broke the pact", or trying to find documentation to support your position.
You guys don't need me.
There is so much "spin" in Neutron's post, that I got dizzy just reading it.
As other have responded the Japanese had not been trying to surrender since early '44, they were looking for terms that were generous for themselves. As Neutron says, put your brain in "human being" mode, it does not take a year and a half to say "We give!"
The debate over whether or not to keep the Emperor was a matter of heated debate amongst America and her Allies, and even amongst the Americans themselves. The US State Department was convinced that keeping the Japanese Emperor would be beneficial, however, it took them some time to convince the many Americans opposed to this view that it was in everyone's best interest to do so.
The much vaunted Kwantung Army was but a shadow of it's 1941 self. The Army had been greatly depleted of it's experienced troops in a vain attempt to stop the Allies from encroaching on Japan's home islands.
Since when? However, if by the "end of spring", you mean the end of July, beginning of August, then you might be a little more accurate. The U.S. Navy was still giving landing craft to the Soviets under Lend-Lease as of July 29th, 1945.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. However, Japan had it's own atomic bomb program, which was supported early on by both the IJN & IJA, and it was struggling to build it's own atomic bomb. Hampered by a lack of materials, money, and scientific know-how, their program was still several years behind the Americans. So, it is fairly certain that the Japanese scientific & military communities were clear that the bombs dropped, were indeed "atomic".
As has already been proven, Japan's "best army" wasn't.
Further, the two atomic bombs and the Soviet invasion were just three of the many factor involving the Japanese surrender. Trying to point to one or the other as the "major factor" is an exercise in futility, since both sides can be argued with equal credibility, and the likely truth lying somewhere in the middle.
Roosevelt could have stopped the war by acquiescing to Japanese demands prior to Pearl Harbor...without atomic bombs, or surrendered after Pearl Harbor...without atomic bombs. Hirohito, Tojo, et al. could have stopped the war prior to Pearl Harbor by acting in a less militaristic fashion...without bombs, or just swallowed their pride and surrendered when THEY KNEW THE WAR WAS ALREADY LOST in early 1944...without bombs.
To put it succinctly, "so what?"
Are you certain of this? Since, it defeats your entire premise of this post.
The Soviets were stopped by the surrender of Japan, so by answering YES, the bombs stopped the Soviets in their tracks, that would mean the bombs were responsible for Japan surrendering, which in turn stopped the Soviets in their tracks. I mean, after all we did not "nuke" the Soviets, and if anything, the Atomic bombs set off a "land grab" by Stalin to get as much territory as he possibly could before the end of hostilities.
The "Bomb" had a massive "fear factor", but that was about it.
Bomb production would remain low for quite some time. Further, to deliver an atomic bomb would require that air superiority to be established and maintained over enemy territory(this took several years over Europe, and less so over Japan). By the time air superiority was established and maintained, the opposing country was, for the most part, already beaten, but refused to admit it. So, in the end, atomic weapons offered no immediate "strategic advantage", only an illusionary one. This "strategic advantage" would only come with the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, which would give the possessing nation a "first strike" capability, but that was contingent upon the opposing nation not possessing these weapons, or else they could retaliate.
The only real "strategic advantage" that the US had over the Soviets was it's navy, since the Soviets lacked a "blue water" navy, and would continue to do so for several years. Thus the Americans could operate, unimpeded by any soviet interference, in much of the world's waterways.
I had forgot. How did your lecture turn out
Not bad, we got kicked out of the meeting room when we went overtime and finished up arguing for four hours in a park. Much fun.
I won't even deign to respond to Neutron's post. Read about the proposed invasion of Japan in 1946. They were waiting for us. I can't recall the author off-hand (Giangreco?) of the book, but check it out before you make any more of a fool of yourself.
By the way, OP, was your speech successful?
Giangreco, very. Richard B. Frank as well. The invasion would have been very ugly.
See the last post on page 3.
Thanks. Sounds like your talk was successful.
Yeah, they invited me back to talk about isolationism and another on appeasement.
You're making a regular thing of this. Good for you.